Bhopal: Seven suspected Maoists, including three women, were on Saturday gunned down in an encounter with security forces in Tirya forest under Nagarnar police station in Chhattisgarh’s Bastar district, bordering Odisha.
The successful counterinsurgency operation dealt a body blow to Maoists since it came on the eve of Martyrs’ week observation by the rebels, scheduled to commence on Sunday.
According to Bastar range inspector general of police (IG) Vivekanand Sinha, acting on a tip off on presence of large number of armed Maoist guerrillas in Tirya forest, a search operation involving district reserve group (DRG) and special task force (STF) was launched in the area in the afternoon.
Maoists opened fire on the security forces when the latter were cordoning off the area leading to a fierce gun battle between them which lasted nearly 45 minutes. Later, Naxals fled the spot.
“Bodies of seven Maoists along with eight weapons were recovered at the encounter site by security forces. Maoists were also seen throwing their weapons in the nearby river while fleeing the encounter site”, Mr Sinha told this newspaper.
The recovered weapons at the encounter site included one Insas automatic assault rifle, four 303 rifles, and one 12 bore gun and two muzzle loading guns.
Large quantities of ammunitions were also recovered at the encounter site. Deadly Darbha division of outlawed CPI (Maoist) was active in the area.
“It was a specific intelligence-based operation. Intelligence had tipped off formation of around 50 armed Naxals in the area, leading to search operation by security forces”, deputy inspector general of police P. Sunderrajan said. Maoists gathered in Tirya forest to hold a meeting to prepare for observing martyrs’ week. As many as 45 Maoists were killed in last seven months in Bastar division.